How do actors relate to each other and their natural environment in terms of threats and vulnerabilities? When and how is violence organized? How can possible conflicts be prevented or solved?
International Security, a track of the master International Relations, is aimed at issues of power politics and international order, peace and war, and strategy and diplomacy. Its main focus is the phenomenon of, and theoretical reflection on, 'violence' in its broader context.
Traditionally, attention for warfare and political violence, i.e. military security, has dominated the study of International Security. They still form the central issues. But especially after the Cold War other concerns occupy the agenda, such as environmental security (about climate change or industrial hazards), societal security (about group identities), and economic security (about welfare and development). These different types of concerns have their own meaning when studying the causes of violent conflict, its prevention and management, and conflict resolution and reconciliation.
Methodologically, the study of International Security has profited from the so-called constructivist turn in International Relations. In addition to traditional analyses new approaches have emerged, most notably Critical Security Studies, the Copenhagen School, and the Risk Society approach.
Why study this program in Groningen?
The Master's track International Security: (a) pays attention to the theoretical developments as well as the dimensions of the contemporary security agenda; (b) offers a research-led and policy-oriented curriculum taught by a committed staff; (c) includes a career-oriented placement that prepares graduates for the labor market, and (d) provides excellent preparation for positions at a broad variety of security-oriented and conflict-management related institutions.
Research International Security
The chair group International Security Studies (ISS) is part of the Department of IRIO. The six permanent staff members and over 10 Ph.D. students all contribute to the Faculty's research theme Conflict Studies. This is done at various levels of abstraction, focusing on various issue-areas and on various political contexts.
At the theoretical level, the chair group aims to contribute to a better understanding of conceptualizations of security in time and space. How have academic debates in security studies evolved and how do they relate to security policies? This implies a focus on securitization theory, regional security complex theory, strategic studies, critical security studies, and peace research.
In terms of issue-areas, the group presently studies developments in military & defense policies, terrorism, peacemaking, peacebuilding &peace keeping - including security sector reform -, societal security in relation to social identities and state formation, and finally securitization in energy, food, and health policies.
In terms of political contexts, the group focuses on institutional and regional settings in which security policies are shaped and implemented. Developments in Intergovernmental Organizations are studied - notably, in the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations Security Council, and also in Non-Governmental Organizations in close cooperation with the research projects related to the Network on Humanitarian Action. The chair group has regional expertise in security politics in Europe (including Turkey), the Middle East, parts of Sub-Sahara Africa, and China.
The chair group brings much of its research interests together in the specialization International Security of the MA degree program IRIO.